Pranayama is one of the most important aspects of yoga, the ultimate aim of achieving from pranayama is “lightness” and “stability” on the mind and body.
Pranayama is made up of the two words Prana and Ayama, Prana means “life force or energy” and Ayama signifies “regulation”.
Thus pranayama means regulating or controlling life energy.
Life forced is linked with the breath in subtle form because the flow of Prana (life force) in our body only through the medium of breath and after then life takes place.
In simple terms, every part and system in our body needs fuel to work and that fuel comes through the process of breathing and if we know how to regulate this breathing process we could make our body and mind stable and fully well-functioned.
Types of Pranayama
- Naadi Shodhan Pranayama
- Surya Bhedi Pranayama
- Chandra Bhedi Pranayama
- Bhastrika Pranayama
- Bharamari Pranayama
- Ujjayi Pranayama
- Sheetali Pranayama
- Kevali Pranayama
How to do Pranayama
Being advanced in pranayama and want to attain its all benefits, primarily it’s important to understand that how to breathe properly.
Normally our breathing process is not so controlled and systematic.
Most people have the habit of expanding the chest while breathing and that is not appropriate according to the concept of Pranayama.
Our lungs need the proper space to expand and contract by which it can remove all the subtle disorders and obstruction from the flow of Prana and purify our Nadis (similar to nerve or veins).
Every time while inhaling we need to expand our belly outside by which lungs expand and inhale more than normal and with an exhalation, we need to pull the belly inside and emptying the lungs fully.
This is one method, for measuring it correctly we can use our fist and put it over the belly.
In the second method which is similar to above one, this time you need to lie down with a flower or any soft object over the belly and observe the movement of flower every time while inhalation and exhalation.
Use Pranav mudra while doing pranayama to close the nostrils. On your right hand, place the tip of your index and middle finger at the bottom of your thumb, and the other two-finger should be straight.
That is Pranav mudra. Always close the left nostril with your last two fingers and with your thumb close right nostril.
The main aim of doing pranayama is lightness and stability in your body and mind. You can remove the distraction easily by which you can make your focus and concentration way better.
Through the practice of pranayama, you could also control the senses of your body, and scattering of mind could also remove.
These are the main and basic benefits provided by any pranayama and different pranayama have also their different and various benefit like heat providing pranayama Surya Bhedi (sun piercing), Bhastrika, Ujjayi and Brahmari help you to make your metabolism better, detoxifying the whole body and increase the glow in the face, etc.
Kumbhaka (retention of breath)
Kumbhaka, retention, or holding the breath is performed while doing the pranayama, the definition of pranayama is incomplete without Kumbhaka.
That’s why Kapalbaati is not counted in pranayama because Kumbhaka is not performed in this practice.
Uses of Kumbhaka during the practice of pranayama helps to increase the capacity of lungs. In every practice of pranayama performing, Kumbhaka is essential.
The ratio of Kumbhaka in Pranayama practice to attain is 1:4:2:2, which means inhalation count 1sec: inner retention count 4sec: exhalation count 2sec: outer retention count 2sec. For beginners, it is very difficult to achieve so, start with the ration 1:1:1:1, then 1:2:1:1 and so on. Gradually increase the ratio.
Mainly Kumbhaka is of two types:-
- Inner retention (Antar Kumbhaka):- while inhaling when we retain the breath inside.
- External retention (Bahir Kumbhaka):- is happening when we exhale and hold the breath out.